A GH¢20.9 million ICT contract by the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department for improvement in its payroll system has come under critical scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament. That was when it sat to consider the Auditor-General’s reports of 2011, 2012 and 2013.
A member of the committee and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Bibiani-Anhwiaso-Bekwai, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, raised the concern when the committee started its public sitting yesterday, demanding further scrutiny of the contract because he did not understand why a whopping GH¢20.9 million would be given out to six individual ICT consultants who are virtually performing the same functions as the Accountant-General’s Department’s ICT outfit.
The committee has therefore requested the Controller and Accountant-General, Ms Grace Adzroe, to furnish the committee with a copy of the contract and the terms of agreement by the close of tomorrow for further scrutiny.
Mr Aboagye-Gyedu also questioned why an amount of GH¢800,000 was paid to the Ministry of Finance by the Controller and Accountant-General for an urgent expenditure by the ministry without first using the acceptable procedure and also not going through the proper documentations.
The committee member wanted to find out why that particular payment was classified as ‘urgent’ and whether it was for the personal use of the minister.
The Chief Director at the Ministry of Finance, Major S.A. Tara (rtd), explaining the circumstances that led to the release of that money, indicated that the urgency of the situation demanded that the money was first paid before the necessary documentations were done to cover the payment.
He however said that he would not be able to say in public what the money was actually used for and that he would be able to tell members of the committee the exact use of the money only in camera.
“Mr Chairman, the money was not for the minister. It was for an urgent assignment and that could not be said in public. We were somewhere else and we had to request for the money,” the Chief Director said.
The vice chairman of the committee, Samuel Atta Akyea, told DAILY GUIDE later that the matter concerning the taxpayers’ money for urgent expenditure by the Ministry of Finance was a very serious one and that the committee would further be probing it at its own level.
“I don’t understand why the government could make such expenditures for unexplained reasons and starve an important department like the Auditor-General’s Department of public funds so that it cannot perform its important functions effectively,” he bemoaned.
There were concerns also raised about the payment of salaries to individuals – retired, dead or resigned workers – which amounted to GH¢167,000.
Members of the committee recommended that appropriate sanctions with regard to the Financial Administration Regulations Act be applied to supervisors who reneged on their duties for such infractions to take place.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr